I created my first website shortly after discovering the Internet in the late 1990s. On “Jan’s Helpful Home Page” I posted household management tips and invited people to send me their challenges. Although I was thrilled to receive an email from a reader, it would be several years before I considered starting a business, and even longer before I discovered blogging.
When I eventually got the itch to start my own business, I worked as a career consultant, professional organizer, productivity consultant, and virtual assistant, before realizing that web design is my true passion!
These days, my greatest reward is making my clients’ visions come to life by applying my constantly growing technical and creative skills.
When I’m away from my desk, I love reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking. My husband Scott and I have one dog, one cat, two sons and three grandchildren.
When I transitioned from a full-time, stressful government job to a more laid back position working only 30 hours a week, I started a side business as a career and organizing consultant. I wasn’t motivated by money so much as the opportunity to keep busy doing something I enjoyed. Then one day, my world was turned upside down.
First, my husband’s income decreased suddenly, forcing us to sell our house and move to a rental apartment. Shortly afterwards, the program I worked for was shut down with only a few weeks’ notice, and I was compelled to take another job within the company, one I’d been offered previously but declined. It was even worse than I expected. I disliked the work intensely, and my new manager didn’t respect me. Some mornings I left home with tears in my eyes.
In the meantime, I’d added web design and virtual assistance to my services, and discovered that this was my true passion. I was no longer satisfied just to run my business on the side, but although my new job was only 20 hours a week, it didn’t offer the flexibility I needed to grow my business. With no mortgage looming over me, I decided the time was right to quit my job and go “all in.” It was finally time to get serious! I won’t lie and say it happened overnight, but I successfully built the business of my dreams.
After over 10 years of full-time self-employment, I’d never dream of going back to a “real job.” During this time, I’ve seen many women struggle to get their own businesses off the ground, and sadly, not all of them have made it. I can’t help everyone, but it brings me great joy to use the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business to help others to succeed.
- Website designer since 1998, email marketer since 2002, social media user since 2003, and blogger since 2006
- Founder and Director of the Golden Horseshoe Virtual Assistants Group
- Recipient of Award of Excellence for Outstanding Canadian Online Profile Developer, Career Professionals of Canada, 2014
- Nominee for the prestigious Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction Award, 2009
- Recipient of the VAccolade Business Entrepreneur Award, 2008
- Former member of Professional Organizers in Canada’s National Board of Directors
- Speaker on blogging, social media, and other topics at local events and national conferences (View “Presentations” for highlights)
- Featured in the Hamilton Spectator, The Globe and Mail, The Star Tribune, OfficePro Magazine and other print and online publications
- Highly sought guest writer and interview subject for blogs and podcasts
- Featured in several business books
Engaging, approachable and enthusiastic
Thank you so much for joining us at bizPLAN to share your social media expertise. You’re responsible for the conversion of many social media naysayers! You’re so engaging and approachable, and so enthusiastic about the subject – people really come to understand the power of the tools you bring them.